I have been away from action due to my finals that involved reading for long hours. This long sitting caused me severe neckache, which I thought would be a good topic for my next blog post. I believe most of us have had neck pain in our life at some point of time. A healthy neck is strong and flexible and it has tendency to move more than any other parts of your spine. Until it hurts, you don’t think much about your neck. But the neck is the head’s link to the rest of the body. It holds the spinal cord as well as nerves and blood vessels. It also supports the head, which can weigh up to 15 pounds. With stresses such as poor posture, tension, wear and tear, and accidents, it’s no wonder your neck is at risk of pain and injury. The article is intended to help you understand neck problems and their prevention.
If you have a neck problem, you may not be able to move your head without some discomfort. You may have one or more of these symptoms:
Pain in your head, arms and shoulders
Tingling or numbness in your fingers
Causes of Neck pain
Neck pain can result from several causes. Usually, everyday activities are to blame. Such activities include bending over a desk for hours, having poor posture while watching TV or reading, placing your computer monitor too high or too low, sleeping in an uncomfortable position, or twisting and turning the neck in a jarring manner while exercising.
- Muscle strains. Pain due to overuse of muscles, such as too much time spent hunched over a steering wheel, often triggers muscle strains. Neck muscles, particularly those in the back of your neck, become fatigued and eventually strained. When you overuse your neck muscles repeatedly, chronic pain can develop.
Worn joints. Like the other joints in your body, our neck joints experience wear and tear with age, which can cause osteoarthritis in your neck. Neck (cervical) osteoarthritis can cause pain and stiffness in your neck.
Disk disorders. As you age, the cushioning disks between your vertebrae become dry and stiff, narrowing the spaces in your spinal column where the nerves come out. This means they are not able to cushion the vertebrae as well as they used to. When disk wear down, vertebrae may rub against each other. This can cause growths called bone spurs to form. These spurs can pinch a nearby nerve, causing pain.
class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 1.0in; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; text-indent: -.25in; line-height: 150%;">§ Herniated Disk. A worn disk sometimes bulges or tears. The damaged portion of this herniated disk may press on a nerve. This can cause pain or weakness in your arm. A herniated disk can also be caused by an injury or by sudden movement.
- Injuries. Rear-end collisions often result in whiplash injuries, such as car accidents. When a car hit from behind the passenger’s head may snap backward, and then forward. This is called hyperextension. If a car hits a solid object, the head may jerk forward then backward. This is called Hyperflexion. With a sprain, you may feel only slight discomfort at first. But stiffness and pain become more severe a few hours later.
Most neck pain is associated with poor posture on top of age-related wear and tear. To help prevent neck pain, keep your head centered over your spine, so gravity works with your neck instead of against it. According to MayoClinic some simple changes in your daily routine may help you to prevent from neck pain:
Take frequent breaks if you drive long distances or work long hours at your computer. Keep your head back, over your spine, to reduce neck strain. Try to avoid clenching your teeth.
Adjust your desk, chair and computer so the monitor is at eye level. Knees should be slightly lower than hips. Use your chair’s armrests.
Avoid tucking the phone between your ear and shoulder when you talk. If you use the phone a lot, get a headset.
Stretch frequently if you work at a desk. Shrug your shoulders up and down. Pull your shoulder blades together and then relax. Pull your shoulders down while leaning your head to each side to stretch your neck muscles.
Though neck pain in most of the cases is not severe but ignorance can cause chronic and severe pain that leads to spondylitis and others problems. In my next article I will discuss about good postures and treatments options for neck pain in details. If you feel intense pain, you should immediately seek an appointment with doctor.